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Cyprus PIO: News Update in English, 04-02-17

Cyprus Press and Information Office: News Updates in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office Server at <http://www.pio.gov.cy/>

  • [01]Tuesday, 17 February 2004 Foreign Minister meets European Commissioner for Internal Market and Taxation
  • [02] UN envoy holds talks with EU Presidency en route to Cyprus
  • [03] US welcomes agreement to resume Cyprus talks

    [01] Foreign Minister meets European Commissioner for Internal Market and Taxation

    The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Georgios Iacovou, had a meeting yesterday with the European Commissioner for Internal Market and Taxation, Mr Frits Bolkestein, who is visiting the island. Speaking after the meeting, Mr Iacovou said he and Mr Bolkestein had discussed the agreement reached in New York last week for resuming talks on a solution of the Cyprus problem and the involvement of the European Commission in the negotiations. "Mr Bolkestein showed great interest in the issues pertaining to his portfolio - economic and fiscal issues - as these arise from the Annan plan", he noted. Mr Iacovou expressed the position that the contribution of the EU in the peace process would be substantial, adding that a team of experts from the European Commission would be in Cyprus in order to be giving advice to the negotiating team. For his part, Commissioner Bolkestein reiterated the European Commission's satisfaction over the resumption of the talks for a settlement before 1 May 2004, noting the Commission's preference for the accession of a united Cyprus to the EU. He added that the Commission would be willing to assist the peace process by making technical expertise available and also by granting funds - worth 250 million Euro - as structural assistance after the achievement of a settlement. The funds would be available for the island as a whole, Mr Bolkestein explained, and they would be then divided according to the relative size of each community and the relative poverty level in each community. Replying to questions, Foreign Minister Iacovou stressed that it would be impossible not to take into account the views of the European Union in the peace process since the whole effort was to have a reunited Cyprus join the Union. Regarding the role of the EU in the peace process, he said it would mostly be on a technical level with the team of experts dealing with legal and economic issues pertaining to the Annan plan and ruling on whether they comply or not with the acquis communautaire. Mr Iacovou underlined, in response to another question, that the Greek Cypriot side had always pursued negotiations on the basis of the Annan plan for a solution by 1 May 2004 and added that the finding or not of a solution would mostly depend on the Turkish side.

    [02] UN envoy holds talks with EU Presidency en route to Cyprus

    The UN Secretary-General's Special Adviser on Cyprus, Mr Alvaro de Soto, held talks in Dublin yesterday with the Irish Prime Minister and current EU President, Mr Bertie Ahern, on the question of Cyprus. Prior to the meeting, the EU Presidency released the following press announcement: "The Taoiseach and President of the European Council, Mr Bertie Ahern TD, will hold talks with, Mr Alvaro de Soto today in Dublin. Mr de Soto is en route from New York to Cyprus where talks on the re-unification of the island are due to re-convene on Thursday, 19th February next. Following three days of meetings and consultations, Mr Kofi Annan, Secretary General of the United Nations, announced last Friday that the Greek and Turkish Cypriots had committed to negotiating in good faith on the basis of his plan to achieve a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem through separate and simultaneous referenda before 1 May 2004. To this end, the parties will seek to agree on changes and to complete the plan in all respects by 22 March 2004, within the framework of Mr Annan's mission of good offices, so as to produce a finalized text. In the absence of such agreement, the Secretary General would convene a meeting of the two sides - with the participation of Greece and Turkey in order to lend their collaboration - in a concentrated effort to agree on a finalized text by 29 March. Speaking on behalf of the Presidency of the EU on Friday, the Taoiseach welcomed the announcement made by Mr Annan in New York and reiterated the European Union's readiness to accommodate the terms of a settlement in line with the principles on which the EU was founded. The accession of a united Cyprus on 1st May remains the clear preference of the European Union and these negotiations offer a real opportunity to achieve this historic objective." Following his consultations in the Irish capital yesterday, Mr de Soto flew to Brussels for a meeting with Enlargement Commissioner Mr Gunter Verheugen to discuss the latest developments in Cyprus. Commissioner Verheugen will visit the island tomorrow, a day before the UN-sponsored talks for a solution of the Cyprus problem resume in Nicosia.

    [03] US welcomes agreement to resume Cyprus talks

    The United States has welcomed the agreement reached by the Cyprus parties to resume negotiations for a solution of the Cyprus problem on the basis of the UN Secretary-General's peace plan. US State Department Spokesman Mr Richard Boucher said last Friday that the US would continue to provide all appropriate support to achieve a just and durable settlement. Mr Boucher's statement on Cyprus is the following: "The United States warmly welcomes the announcement by United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan today [13 February 2004] that the parties on Cyprus have committed to resume negotiations on the basis of his peace plan and to submit the resulting settlement to referenda in time for a reunited island to join the European Union on May 1. This step came about thanks to the constructive spirit and political will of all the parties. An extremely helpful proposal to create a deadlock-breaking mechanism was made by the Turkish Cypriot side on February 11 and received a cooperative response from the Greek Cypriot side. This allowed the Secretary General to propose a compromise that was accepted by all the parties. We are pleased that the parties are seizing this historic opportunity to achieve a just and durable settlement to the long-standing division of Cyprus. This will allow all Cypriots to enjoy the benefits of EU membership as of May 1. The United States will continue to provide all appropriate support to reach a successful conclusion."

    From the Republic of Cyprus Press and Information Office (PIO) Server at http://www.pio.gov.cy/


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